Work looks different now than it did last year. Now, you don’t need to work in an office—or even at a desk—to run a successful business. Opportunities abound for mobile business owners, from mobile hairdressers to grocery delivery services to catering companies.

Despite the wide variety of mobile business ideas out there, all mobile business owners have one thing in common: they need to get where they’re going as quickly and efficiently as possible. That’s why all mobile businesses can benefit from route optimization software.

Today’s consumers increasingly demand personalized service, and concerns over health and safety have prompted a wave of in-home and delivery services. Here are 10 mobile business ideas that capitalize on these trends.

Skip ahead to the topics that interest you most:

  1. Salon & Hairdressing
  2. Grocery Delivery
  3. Cleaning Services
  4. Personal Training
  5. Landscaping
  6. Photography
  7. Catering
  8. Laundry & Dry Cleaning
  9. Tutoring
  10. Junk Removal
  11. Route Optimization: The Key to Profitability and Efficiency as a Mobile Business

1. Salon & Hairdressing

Woman getting haircut
Photo by Kampus Production from Pexels

Mobile hair salon businesses offer multiple opportunities for revenue—on-demand in-home service, office partnerships, weddings, and other events—without the added cost of a brick-and-mortar establishment. As a skilled (and licensed) hairstylist, you can offer a premium grooming service to clients by visiting your customers’ homes. They’ll appreciate the convenience, as well as the added health and safety benefits of avoiding a crowded barbershop or salon. You, in turn, can charge more than you might have in a traditional salon setting. 

The same logic applies to animal clients. If you have a love for animals and a knack for grooming, you could start a mobile pet grooming service.

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment: 

  • A vehicle that can hold all your equipment, like a large SUV or a van
  • Portable sink for shampooing and dying hair
  • Hair products (shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, hair dye, etc.)
  • Hair styling tools (scissors, sectioning clips, combs and brushes, hair dryers and curling irons, etc.)
  • Heat protective mats to protect clients’ countertops and tables
  • Nail styling tools if applicable (nail clippers and files, nail polish, portable fan to dry nails)
  • Sanitization equipment

License:

While exact requirements vary by state, all hair stylists in the U.S. must be licensed. Brush up on licensing requirements for your state here.

Skills: 

It goes without saying you’ll need professional cosmetology skills (haircare and styling, skin care, nail tech, and makeup styling) in order to pull off a mobile salon. In addition, you’ll need excellent people skills—this is a heavily client-facing role, and part of the service you’re providing is an exceptional and convenient experience for your clients.

You could also consider starting a mobile pet grooming service. Pet owners need to attend to their pets’ grooming needs, but they may not want to expose them to unfamiliar animals in a physical location. As a mobile pet groomer, you can bring the pet spa to clients’ homes and make their lives easier!

2. Grocery Delivery

Grocery bag
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the ease and peace of mind of ordering grocery delivery rather than shopping in a crowded supermarket. 

According to Statista, grocery delivery and pickup sales increased by 233% between August of 2019 and March of 2020—then grew an additional 80% by June. While the market size has dipped from early-pandemic highs, it’s still much greater than it was in 2019. Now is a great time to start a grocery delivery service. 

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment: 

  • A car
  • A way to communicate with your clients, whether by email, text message, or an app

License: 

  • Valid driver’s license

Skill:

Running a full-time grocery delivery service takes a number of skills. You’ll need English proficiency, so you can communicate with your clients about their orders. You’ll also need strong attention to detail and a high degree of efficiency. Plus, to be most effective, you’ll need to market your services heavily in a town or city neighborhood. The more clients you can serve in the same general location with fewer trips to the grocery store, the more profitable you can be, and the more likely you can compete with bigger players like Amazon and Uber.

3. Cleaning Services

Person cleaning mirror
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Creating a clean and healthy environment is front of mind for businesses and individuals alike, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an excellent opportunity to start a mobile business with multiple use cases, from cleaning residential homes to servicing offices and other public-use areas.

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A vehicle that can hold your staff and equipment, such as a large SUV or a van
  • Safety equipment for you and your staff (face masks, gloves, aprons, etc.)
  • Cleaning products, which can offer a way to differentiate and charge a premium price (for all-natural or organic products, for example)
  • Cleaning tools and appliances, e.g., vacuum, mop, dusters, sponges, cloths, etc.

License:

While you don’t need a specialized license specifically for a cleaning company, you will need a vendor’s license. Here’s how to apply for one

Skills:

Cleaning can be back-breaking work, which means that in addition to having a basic understanding of how to clean which surfaces using which products, you and your team will also need a certain level of physical fitness. To succeed in this business, you’ll also need attention to detail and a good deal of efficiency and speed so you can provide service to multiple clients in the same day and boost your profitability. 

4. Personal Training

Two women doing yoga

2020 was the year of the home workout, amid gym closures and fear of viral spread in close quarters. Even as gyms reopen, many Americans are choosing to forego their gym memberships in favor of home workout equipment and, yes, sessions with in-home trainers.

Capitalize on that trend by bringing the gym to your clients with in-home personal training services. To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A vehicle that can hold all your equipment
  • Weights and other physical training equipment (e.g., resistance bands, foam rollers, jump ropes, etc.)
  • Timer/stopwatch
  • Portable bench

License:

While a personal trainer license is not technically required, becoming certified could be helpful in attracting new clients.

Skills:

To be a successful personal trainer, you’ll certainly need an impressive level of athleticism and physical fitness. In addition, you’ll need a well-honed understanding of sports medicine and physiology, so you can offer your clients the best and safest advice to improve their fitness and well-being. Because this role is so client-facing, you’ll need excellent people and communication skills and something else: an incredible ability to motivate and inspire your clients.

5. Landscaping

Man doing landscaping
Photo by Jared Muller on Unsplash

Landscaping is a well-known type of mobile business that can be quite profitable if run correctly. According to market research from IBIS World, landscaping is a $114.6bn industry. If you have a green thumb and an eye for design, this could be an excellent mobile business opportunity. 

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A van or truck 
  • A lawnmower 
  • Power tools such as leaf blowers and electric hedge trimmers
  • Manual tools such as shears, spades, shovels, rakes, hoes, wheelbarrows, etc.
  • Safety equipment such as goggles and gloves

License:

License requirements for landscapers vary by state, and some states have no licensing requirements. In others, there are only licensing requirements if you apply pesticides and/or fertilizers. Learn more about the requirements in your state here.

Skills:

Successful landscapers have a blend of gardening, design, and business skills. You’ll need a strong sense of design, as well as an understanding of horticulture. You and your team will also need to be strong and physically fit, as you’ll be working outside and frequently handling heavy materials and equipment. 

6. Photography

Wedding photographer
Photo by Rene Asmussen from Pexels

A mobile photography business doesn’t just make economic sense—it also encourages you to expand your skill level as you explore new destinations to shoot. Photography businesses also offer multiple niches, from weddings and events to family sessions to corporate headshots to landscapes. 

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A vehicle that can hold your equipment, such as a car or van
  • Camera(s) and lenses
  • Tripod
  • External flash and other artificial lighting
  • Backdrops and props for indoor shoots
  • Batteries, chargers, and memory cards
  • Film if necessary
  • Photo editing software

License:

  • n/a

Skills:

Of course, you’ll need to be an excellent photographer in order to run a successful photography business. Other skills can be just as important. You’ll need to edit your photos, so you should have strong photo editing and graphic design skills. You’ll be interacting with clients frequently—and sometimes on momentous life occasions—so you should have excellent people and communication skills and be personable and friendly. 

While social media and blogging skills are important for any small business owner, they’re absolutely critical for photographers. Your website and social media channels can serve as dynamic portfolios of your work, which can do some of the heavy lifting of marketing your business to prospective clients.

7. Catering

Chicken barbecue
Photo by Dolores Preciado on Unsplash

Starting a mobile catering service presents multiple revenue opportunities without the added cost of opening a brick-and-mortar establishment. Depending on the size of your business, you can cater private parties, corporate events, or weddings and other special events.

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A vehicle that can hold your equipment, such as a van or food truck
  • Portable cooking equipment (pots and pans, induction stovetops, grills, etc.)
  • Food storage boxes and carriers, including warming cabinets and coolers
  • Serving items (trays, utensils, chafing dishes, dispensers, flatware, glassware, linens, etc.)
  • Server uniforms and aprons

License:

Catering license requirements vary by state and jurisdiction. Check with local authorities to determine necessary licenses. If you plan to serve alcohol, you’ll need an alcohol license. In some states, you may also need a food handler permit.

Skills:

To get get your catering business off the ground, you’ll need excellent cooking and serving skills. To run a successful business, you’ll also need an understanding of food safety as well as excellent organizational and time management skills. 

8. Laundry and Dry Cleaning

Man doing laundry
Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

mobile laundry and dry cleaning business offers customers a new level of convenience—and multiple revenue opportunities for you. Recruit customers in your city or town, or try partnering with local businesses that might offer your services as an employee benefit. 

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A vehicle that can hold clients’ garments, such as a van
  • Industrial washers and dryers
  • Pressing machines
  • Steamers
  • Irons
  • Perchloroethylene for dry cleaning services
  • Wire hangers and plastic bags

License:

Dry cleaning licenses vary by state. While you may not need a license, you can advance your business with certain certifications that give customers confidence in your abilities. Learn more about online certification for different laundry businesses (certified professional drycleaner, certified professional wetcleaner, certified garment care professional, certified environmental drycleaner) here.

Because you’re working with chemicals, you’ll also need to adhere to Federal Environmental Regulations.

Skills:

If you plan to offer dry cleaning services, you’ll need to understand how various chemicals work and be skilled at their application. You’ll also need to be physically fit, as you may need to carry heavy loads of laundry. You should also have excellent customer service skills and a strong ability to meet deadlines.

9. Tutoring

Woman tutoring
Photo by Julia M Cameron from Pexels

In the past year, many kids have struggled in virtual and hybrid learning environments, driving demand for private tutors. If you’re a current or former teacher, a master of a particular subject area(s), or a test-taking pro, you may be able to supplement—or even replace—your income with a mobile tutoring business.

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A car
  • A computer
  • Appropriate textbooks
  • Calculator
  • School supplies (notebooks/paper, pens, pencils)

License:

  • n/a

Skills:

A student is only as effective as his or her teacher. You’ll need thorough subject matter expertise in order to be an effective tutor. But understanding the material isn’t enough—you’ll also need the ability to synthesize and explain information correctly and clearly. The best tutors make strong connections with their students, so you’ll also need excellent people and communication skills to succeed.

10. Junk Removal

Trash disposal
Photo by: James Day from Unsplash

According to Junk Removal Authority, “the demand for junk removal is only increasing. The typical American moves about once every five years, and most people have junk to get rid of each time.” You can assist multiple customers as they Marie Kondo their way to simplicity with a junk removal service. 

To get started, you’ll need:

Equipment:

  • A large van or truck
  • Moving blankets and wrap
  • Appliance dolly
  • Hand truck
  • Tape
  • Basic toolset
  • Shoulder straps
  • Protective pads for doors
  • Broom

License:

Depending on the type of junk you’re planning to remove, you may need waste removal permits, which vary by jurisdiction. Learn more about hazardous waste permitting in your state here.

Skills:

Junk removal is quite a physical business. To maximize your profit, you’ll need to move quickly while lugging heavy materials. You’ll also need to be efficient and organized, so you can serve as many customers in as little time as possible.

We’ve covered several mobile business ideas here, but these aren’t the only ones to consider. If you’re looking for more startup ideas, take a look at event planning, handyman services, childcare services, food truck businesses, and mobile car wash services too.

Route Optimization: The Key to Profitability for a Mobile Business

The central problem any mobile business faces is how to get from one client to another in the shortest amount of time and with the smallest possible fuel usage. Whether you’re delivering groceries or hauling junk, your profitability depends on maximizing the volume of clients you serve in a given area over a given period of time. 

Routine route inefficiency results in higher fuel costs, fewer clients, more wasted time, and less profit. But manually plotting efficient routes is difficult and time-consuming—especially for a new entrepreneur focused on other aspects of the business. Plus, manual route planning is difficult to scale as your company grows and expands its fleet and service area.

OptimoRoute: The ultimate value driver for mobile businesses

OptimoRoute’s route optimization software automatically creates the most efficient route possible. OptimoRoute considers your schedule and maps the most efficient route without the need for any manual input. That, in turn, reduces time wasted for your employees, who can focus on growing their businesses or maximizing their time with clients. 

Optimizing routes results in shorter trips and less time spent on traveling, which saves you money and increases time. Consequently it also reduces potential driver overtime wages and fuel costs. When your trips are shorter, you can also serve more clients in less time, which increases your profit margins.

One mobile business that used OptimoRoute to drive efficiency and increase profitability is Hardie’s Fresh Foods. The grocery delivery company used OptimoRoute to reduce mileage by 20% while increasing delivery capacity by 14%. The company now plans routes eight times faster with 60% less manpower and has improved its on-time delivery rate—which customers love. 

Now Is the Time to Start Your Mobile Business

Today’s mobile business possibilities are endless. With the right skills and equipment, you can launch a successful, lucrative company in the industry of your choice—without ever being chained to a desk again. 

Regardless of the industry and service you choose, optimizing your route is critical to increasing the efficiency and profitability of your mobile business. Try OptimoRoute today, free for 30 days and see how the software can help you scale your mobile business today.